Noriko Matsueda: The Composer Who Brought the Jazz to Squaresoft

One name has been missing from the conversation about game music composers: Noriko Matsueda. Around the turn of the century, she laced Square games with jazzy vibes. A tribute.

I. Prelude: The Mid 90s

Bar, from Front Mission
Within Living Memory, from Front Mission
Arena, from Front Mission 2
Yoyo’s Theme, from Bahamut Lagoon

II. Genre Synthesis: Racing Lagoon (1999)

Render intro for Racing Lagoon
Star Fall Night, from Racing Lagoon
Kuniteru Takahashi and Manabu Oda, from Racing Lagoon

III. Bagpipes, Brawling: The Bouncer (2000)

Opening movie for The Bouncer
Sion Barzhad’s Theme, from The Bouncer
Volt Krueger’s Theme, from The Bouncer

IV. A High Note: Final Fantasy X-2 (2003)

Besaid, from Final Fantasy X-2
Let Me Blow You a Kiss / I’ll Give You Something Hot, from Final Fantasy X-2
Zanarkand Ruins, from Final Fantasy X-2
Struggle to the Death, from Final Fantasy X-2

V. Epilogue: When Square Got Funky

PS2 console.
PS2 console.
The PS2 is home to many classics Matsueda scored. (Credit: Unsplash/Nikita Kostrykin)

Notes

Perspectives on the 2000s decade. And its mirror image in time, the 1980s.

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